Elevated Acre

I’ve always loved how New Yorkers appreciate their parks – but it does mean they’re crammed full. Tonight, I visited a park that’s a little more secret and a lot less crowded: The Elevated Acre.

After work, I wandered downtown to 55 Water Street, an office block right at the tip of Manhattan in the Financial District. There, you can take a set of escalators to a garden that’s 30ft above street level and tucked behind the building.

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This secret acre is a privately-owned public space with a large patch of grass and a terrace lined with pink flowerbeds that overlook the East River. The square is immaculately manicured and gives the impression of a place of solace. While it is gorgeous and unlike any place I’ve been to in the city, in reality it’s a little noisy – it overlooks the Manhattan Helipad and FDR Drive (and its hectic rush of cars).

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Still, I’m sure most New Yorkers find it easy to block out these sorts of sounds now, and somehow, there is something about the place that’s so relaxing. Perhaps it’s the colourful terrace or how the other three sides of the square are fully shielded by towering buildings. Either way, it seemed the perfect spot to sit down with a book.

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From the (fake) grass, I marvelled at how empty the square was. There was a group of people working out and another chatting, but that was it. I bet you this is the least populated acre in the city.

Despite the noise, I left feeling very, very chilled out. This was a great find – and if you’re that far downtown, I’d suggest stopping here for a picnic or a moment’s breather instead of Battery Park.